The use of temporary, permeable structures in the lower Burdekin River: A novel approach to river-level management

Althea Walker-Hallam, Dylan J. Irvine, S. Cristina Solórzano-Rivas, Adrian D. Werner, Lucy Reading, Paul Godfrey, Michele Mondani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A review of in-channel structures finds a wide range of purposes, including enhancement of the storage capacity of rivers to improve water supply reliability and/or flood protection, and various other hydro-ecological, water quality, geomechanical and sediment transport functions. The installation of in-channel structures is typically intended to be permanent, or at least semi-permanent. The purpose of this note is to document the novel use of temporary in-channel structures in the lower reaches of the Burdekin River, within the Australian dry tropics. Their application reduces freshwater discharge to the sea during low-flow periods thereby enhancing the sustainability of irrigated agriculture within the Lower Burdekin Delta. Temporary structures are constructed in the Burdekin River to enhance the reliability of pumping stations by raising the river level locally and preventing sea water from reaching extraction points. The structures are designed to restrict river flow only partially during low-flow periods and to wash away during high-flow events, which provides several benefits, including the passage of riverine fauna and reduced river siltation. The long-term utilisation (1950s to present) of temporary structures in the Burdekin River is testament to their successful implementation, which may offer benefits over permanent structures for other dry-tropical regions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number130435
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Hydrology
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


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